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UK new van market shows moderate growth in August

NFDA 05/09/2017

“It is positive to see that the new light commercial market grew moderately in August by 1.5% in what is a low volume month in terms of registrations as customers wait for the new registration plate in September”, said Sue Robinson, Director of the National Franchised Dealers Association (NFDA), which represents franchised car and commercial vehicle retailers in the UK, commenting on the latest SMMT’s light commercial vehicle registration figures.

Following the increase in July, the new van market also grew in August by 1.5% to 15,619 units. Year to date, the market is now -2.8% down on last year.
Pickups performed well in August with a growth of 8.0% compared with the same period last year. Pickups are becoming more and more important and they now represent the third largest segment in terms of volume of registrations behind the mid-size (2.0-2.5 tonnes) and big vans (2.5-3.5 tonnes) segments that lead the light commercials sector.

Mid-size vans 2.0-2.5 tonnes have also continued to grow throughout 2017. In August, the segment was up +39.9% and year to date +11.4%. These mid-size vans are often used by the service sector within the UK.

Large vans between 2.5-3.5 tonnes generally show the largest increases thanks to the continued growth of internet sales which that require home deliveries. However, while the other indicators show public’s demand for online purchases is still growing, sales of larger vans have slowed, being down -0.6% in August and -4% in 2017. This might be due to corporate and fleet buyers temporarily holding back on placing new van orders until consumer confidence recovers as the implications of Brexit become clearer.

Robinson added, “The light commercial market is showing encouraging signs of stability, especially considering the challenges being faced by the industry, and it seems set to continue to perform at these levels”.

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The Retail Motor Industry represents the interests of operators in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and the Isle of Man providing sales and services to motorists and businesses. The RMI has a formal association with the independent Scottish Motor Trade Association which represents the retail motor industry in Scotland.